The highway and train tracks that wind from Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport into Paris are lined by construction cranes and massive infrastructure projects as France prepares for the 2024 Summer Olympics. These games are promised to be the most carbon neutral and sustainable in the modern era and are closely linked to Paris Mayor Ann Hidalgo’s bid to run for president of France in 2022. Yet the organization that is tasked with the overall supervision of these preparations, Solideo, is under scrutiny for tolerating repeated homophobic comments in recent months as reported in the French media watchdog news site Mediapart.
French gay magazine, Têtu, sounded the alarm for the larger LGBTQ community this past weekend picking up on the story of how three employees, two of whom are senior technicians in Solideo, were suspended due to allegations that they repeatedly used racial slurs, misogynist references, and homophobic insults. The accusations were made in November 2020 by a former communications employee who was fired by the company which is under the supervision of Paris Mayor Hidalgo.
The comments allegedly made by the three employees were overheard by their accuser and made reference to how Saudi Arabia doesn’t have a gay problem, since anyone who is outed is automatically dealt with. Additional comments included jokes about raping veiled women in Saudi Arabia, about the black residents in the neighborhoods where the Olympic construction was happening, and derogatory insults towards the Minister of Sports, Roxana Maracineanu. The communications director who was fired said that altogether Solideo was tolerating a toxic workplace environment.
For her part, Mayor Hidalgo has stated that such behavior would not be tolerated and demanded a thorough investigation. She said that such comments could happen in any workplace, but that she was not aware of the full extent of the accusations until Mediapart reported on it this past weekend. Previous allegations of “dysfunction” had been already dealt with in the past, her office claimed, and that these new instances were being taken seriously.
Solideo is responsible for managing all of the contractors building the 62 construction sites, ranging from the Olympic Village to new bridges and streets across the Paris region.